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Consumer Commodity Pricing Statute and Regulations

      Sec. 21a-79. (Formerly Sec. 19-210j). Universal product coding. Electronic shelf labeling. Electronic pricing. Marking of retail price. Exemptions. Electronic price higher than posted price for consumer commodity. Regulations. Penalties. (a) For the purposes of this section (1) "consumer commodity" and "unit of a consumer commodity" have the same meaning as in section 21a-73, except that consumer commodity does not include alcoholic liquor, as defined in subdivision (3) of section 30-1, or a carbonated soft drink container; (2) "carbonated soft drink container" means an individual, separate, sealed glass, metal or plastic bottle, can, jar or carton containing a carbonated liquid soft drink sold separately or in packages of not more than twenty-four individual containers; (3) "universal product coding" means any system of coding that entails electronic pricing; (4) an electronic shelf labeling system is an electronic system that utilizes an electronic device attached to the shelf or at any other point of sale, immediately below or above the item, that conspicuously and clearly displays to the consumer the unit price and the price of the consumer commodity. Such electronic shelf labeling system reads the exact same data as the electronic cash register scanning system; and (5) an electronic pricing system is a system that utilizes the universal product coding bar code by means of a scanner in combination with the cash register to record and total a customer's purchases.

      (b) (1) (A) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchases shall mark or cause to be marked each consumer commodity that bears a Universal Product Code with its retail price.

      (B) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that utilizes an electronic pricing system in totaling a retail consumer's purchases shall provide each consumer with an item-by-item digital display, plainly visible to the consumer as each universal pricing code is scanned, of the price of each consumer commodity or carbonated soft drink container, or both, selected for purchase by such consumer prior to accepting payment from such consumer for such commodity or container. The provisions of this subparagraph do not apply to any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation operating in a retail sales area of not more than ten thousand square feet.

      (2) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection, by regulation, allows for the utilization of electronic shelf labeling systems; (B) a retailer is granted approval to utilize an electronic shelf labeling system by the commissioner; (C) the retailer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner that such electronic shelf labeling system is supported by an electronic pricing system that utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchases; and (D) the retailer has received approval for such an electronic pricing system by the commissioner.

      (3) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The retailer has met the conditions of subdivision (2) of this subsection; and (B) the retailer has received permission by the commissioner to suspend implementation of the electronic pricing system for a period not to exceed thirty days in order to allow the retailer or an agent acting on behalf of the retailer to reset, remodel, repair or otherwise modify such system at the retail establishment.

      (4) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The retailer applies and is approved for an exemption by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, (B) the retailer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the retailer has achieved price scanner accuracy of at least ninety-eight per cent, as determined by the latest version of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130, "Examination Procedures for Price Verification, as adopted by The National Conference on Weights and Measures", (C) the retailer pays an application fee, to be used to offset annual inspection costs, of two hundred fifty dollars if the premises consists of less than twenty thousand square feet of retail space and five hundred dollars if the premises consists of twenty thousand square feet or more of retail space, (D) the retailer makes available a consumer price test scanner approved by the commissioner and located prominently in an easily accessible location for each twelve thousand square feet of retail floor space, or fraction thereof, and (E) price accuracy inspections resulting in less than ninety-eight per cent price scanner accuracy are reinspected without penalty and the retailer pays a two-hundred-dollar reinspection fee.

      (5) Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection, consumer commodities that are offered for sale and that are located on an end cap display within the retail sales area are not subject to the requirements specified under this subsection, provided any information that would have been available to a consumer pursuant to this section is clearly and conspicuously posted on or adjacent to such end cap. For purposes of this subdivision, "end cap display" means the location in the retail sales area that is at the immediate end of an aisle.

      (6) Consumer commodities that are advertised in a publicly-circulated printed form as being offered for sale at a reduced price for a minimum seven-day period need not be individually marked at such reduced retail price, provided such consumer commodities are individually marked with their regular retail price and a conspicuous sign is adjacent to such consumer commodities, which sign discloses: (A) The reduced retail price and its unit price; and (B) a statement that the item will be electronically priced at the reduced price by the cashier.

      (7) If a consumer commodity is offered for sale and its electronic price is higher than the posted price, then one item of such consumer commodity, up to a value of twenty dollars, shall be given to the consumer at no cost. A conspicuous sign shall adequately disclose to the consumer that in the event the electronic price is higher than the posted retail price, one item of such consumer commodity shall be given to the customer at no cost.

      (c) (1) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, concerning the marking of prices and use of universal product coding on each unit of a consumer commodity.

      (2) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, designating not more than twelve consumer commodities that need not be marked in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section and specifying the method of providing adequate disclosure to consumers to insure that the electronic pricing of the designated consumer commodities is accurate. The commissioner may establish by regulation methods to protect consumers against electronic pricing errors of such designated consumer commodities and to insure that the electronic prices of such designated consumer commodities are accurate. Among the methods that the commissioner may consider are conditions similar to those set forth in subdivision (5) of subsection (b) of this section.

      (d) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection, after providing notice and conducting a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, may issue a warning citation or impose a civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars for the first offense and not more than five hundred dollars for each subsequent offense on any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars for the first offense and not more than one thousand dollars for each subsequent offense. Each violation with respect to all units of a particular consumer commodity on any single day shall be deemed a single offense.

      (P.A. 75-391, S. 1-4; P.A. 88-66, S. 5; P.A. 92-86; P.A. 95-342; P.A. 01-73, S. 1, 2; P.A. 02-43, S. 1; 02-82, S. 3; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(c); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 05-86, S. 1; P.A. 06-66, S. 1; 06-196, S. 152.)

      History: Sec. 19-210j transferred to Sec. 21a-79 in 1983; P.A. 88-66 authorized issuance of warning citation and imposition of civil penalty; P.A. 92-86 amended Subsec. (a) by specifying that the definition of "consumer commodity" does not include alcoholic liquor as defined in Subdiv. (3) of Sec. 30-1 and by adding definitions of an "electronic shelf labeling system" and "electronic pricing system", amended Subsec. (b) to insert Subdiv. indicators, adding new Subdiv. (2) which detailed when the provisions of Subdiv. (1) would not apply, new Subdiv. (3) re commodities on sale at reduced prices and new Subdiv. (4), which provided that a commodity would be given to a customer upon demand at no cost if, at checkout, the electronic price was higher than the reduced retail price and amended Subsec. (c) to insert Subdiv. indicators, making technical change in Subdiv. (1) and adding provisions designated as Subdiv. (2) re adoption of regulations; P.A. 95-342 amended Subsec. (a) to exempt soft drink containers from the definition of "consumer commodity" and to add definition of "carbonated soft drink container" as Subdiv. (2), renumbering existing Subdivs. as necessary; P.A. 01-73 amended Subsec. (b) by designating existing Subdiv. (1) as Subdiv. (1)(A) and adding new Subdiv. (1)(B) re digital display and made conforming and technical changes throughout, effective October 1, 2002; P.A. 02-43 amended Subsec. (c)(2) by increasing from ten to twelve the number of consumer commodities that need not be marked in accordance with Subsec. (b)(1); P.A. 02-82 amended Subsec. (b) by adding Subdiv. (2)(D) requiring retailer to receive approval for electronic pricing system by commissioner, by adding new Subdiv. (3) providing that price marking requirements of Subdiv. (1)(A) do not apply if retailer has met certain conditions, by renumbering existing Subdivs. (3) and (4) as Subdivs. (4) and (5) and by making technical changes in Subdivs. (1), (2) and (5); June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Consumer Protection with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-86 amended Subsec. (b) to add new Subdiv. (4) re commodities offered for sale on end cap displays and redesignate existing Subdivs. (4) and (5) as Subdivs. (5) and (6), respectively, and made technical changes in Subsec. (c), effective June 2, 2005; P.A. 06-66 amended Subsec. (b) by adding new Subdiv. (4) re exemptions, redesignating existing Subdivs. (4) to (6) as Subdivs. (5) to (7), respectively, removing provisions re electronic shelf labeling system in newly designated Subdiv. (5) and, in newly designated Subdiv. (7), removing reduced price provisions, adding posted price provisions, adding twenty-dollar value limit, modifing consumer notice to use term "posted" retail price and deleting "upon demand"; P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (d), effective June 7, 2006.Connecticut General Statute Chapter 417, Section 21a-79


Regulations


21a-79-1.  Definitions
For purposes of Sections 21a-79-1 to 21a-79-7, inclusive, of these regulations, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

(a) "Retail Price" is the price marked on the consumer commodity at which said consumer commodity is to be sold to the customer;

(b) "Retailer" means any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation which utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchase; and

(c) "Exempted Consumer Commodity" means a consumer commodity which has been exempted from the requirement that each item of such consumer commodity be marked with its retail price.

(Amended October 25, 1993.)

21a-79-2. Unmarked consumer commodities
Any consumer commodity not properly marked with the retail price shall be removed from sale until properly marked.

(Effective May 23, 1988.)

21a-79-3. Improperly marked consumer commodities 
If the retail price marked on the consumer commodity is higher than that displayed by the scanner, the lower price will prevail.

(Effective May 23, 1988.)

21a-79-4. Test scanning
Any person, firm, association or corporation which utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchases shall make available to the customer a scanner, capable of reading a universal product code bar, so as to allow the consumer an opportunity to personally identify the price of any item offered for sale. The specific scanner must be clearly identified as available for consumer use and may be one of several such devices utilized by consumers to actually purchase items from the retailer. The use of the consumer designated scanner may be limited during times of maximum register use, and the scanner designated for consumer use shall be the last scanner placed into service to register sales of items when a retailer determines that all scanning check-out registers must be in use.

(Effective May 23, 1988.)

21a-79-5.  Exempted consumer commodities

The following consumer commodities need not be marked with their retail prices:
(1) canned cat food; (2) milk; (3) powdered gelatin and pudding dessert mixes; (4) canned tuna fish; (5) fresh shell eggs; (6) ice cream in one-half gallon, quart, and pint sizes; (7) frozen concentrated juices and fruit drinks; (8) toilet tissue packaged in single rolls; (9) baby food packed in glass jars; and (10) individually packed candy and chewing gum offered for sale at cash register/checkout locations.

(Effective October 25, 1993.)

21a-79-6.  Signs required to inform consumers of exemption and retail price
(a) Exempted consumer commodities shall have a three-inch by five-inch sign conspicuously placed adjacent to the display of such consumer commodity, with a frequency of one sign for every six linear feet of display, or fractional part thereof.  Such sign shall: (1) contain a statement that the consumer commodity has been exempted from the requirement that each such consumer commodity be individually marked with its retail price, and that, in the event that an exempted consumer commodity registers at the cash register/checkout terminal at a retail price which is higher than the retail price as stated, one item of such exempted consumer commodity shall be given to the consumer upon demand at no cost, in accordance with Section 21a-79-7; and (2) not contain any additional text including but not limited to store or promotional slogans, names, or advertising.

(b) Each exempted consumer commodity shall have its current retail price disclosed on a tag or label directly adjacent to the consumer commodity, on the shelf on which the commodity is displayed.  For purposes of this subsection, the tag or label provided pursuant to Section 21a-74 (b) (1) of the general statutes shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this subsection.

(Effective October 25, 1993.)

21a-79-7.  Electronic pricing error.  One item at no cost
(a) In the event that an exempted consumer commodity registers at the cash register/checkout terminal at a retail price which is higher than the retail price on the tag or label called for in Section 21a-79-6 (b), one item of such exempted consumer commodity shall be given to the consumer upon demand at no cost.

(b) The consumer shall be informed of the opportunity to receive one item at no cost by means of the conspicuous sign referred to in Section 21a-79-6 (a) and a second conspicuous sign attached to each cash register/checkout terminal in a retailer's establishment.  The sign attached to the cash register/checkout terminal shall be at least six inches by nine inches in size, easily readable by a consumer making a purchase at such cash register/checkout terminal, and shall not contain any additional text including but not limited to store or promotional slogans, names, or advertising, other than that required by Section 21a-79 (b) (4) of the general statutes.  As an alternative to such cash register/checkout terminal signs, the retailer may display a conspicuous sign, with minimum dimensions of 22 inches by 28 inches, at each public entrance within the store which sign shall not contain any store or promotional slogans, names, or advertising and which shall read as follows:

"In the event that a consumer commodity, in either of the following two categories, scans at an incorrect higher price, you will be given one item of that consumer commodity free of charge.

(1) Connecticut
law provides that certain consumer commodities need not be individually marked with their retail prices.  You will see signs in the aisles next to each of these items identifying them as belonging to this special group of consumer commodities.

(2) Connecticut
law provides that consumer commodities on sale in our printed circular need not be marked with their sale prices.  You will see signs in the aisles where each of these items are displayed stating that they will scan at their advertised sale prices."

(Effective October 25, 1993.)